The Government has undertaken a series of initiatives for social justice
and empowerment. Ekatmakta, Samata and Samajik Samrasta are the guiding
principles in this direction. This was stated
by Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and
Empowerment while addressing a Press Conference on “Major Social
Welfare Initiatives” to mark the Birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna Dr.
Bhimrao Ambedkar here today. Shri Ramdas
Athawale, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment was also
Gehlot informed the media persons that 14 scholarship schemes for
Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) / Denotified, Nomadic
and Semi-nomadic Tribes (DNTs) students
covering 3.54 crore students are under digital payment. All
Scholarship amount are released to students’ bank account and there is
60% Aadhaar seeding in SC student bank account.
Educational Empowerment for SCs is through scholarships,
hostels for students,
coaching facilities, capital for creation/upgradation of premises,
institution etc. The Government of India believes that
Education for all is the key to empowerment. M/o SJE implements seven
different types of scholarships, which include:
Post and Pre-Matric Scholarships; Top Class Scholarship; National
Overseas Scholarships; National Fellowship for Scheduled Castes
administered by the UGC; Pre-Matric Scholarship for Children of those
engaged in unclean occupations; Free Coaching for Scheduled Castes and
OBCs (70: 30 ratio); and Upgradation of merit. Nearly 54 % of Budget of
the M/o SJ&E is incurred on scholarships for Scheduled castes.
emphasized that the Government is committed for the social, economic and
educational uplift of
the Scheduled Castes and has therefore enunciated policies and schemes
across different Ministries for targeted benefit and progress of the
The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities)
Act, 1989 has been amended
and enforced with effect from 26.1.2016. It is now mandated that the
trial for atrocities against SC/ST be completed within two months from
the date of filing the charge sheet.
The amended Rules,
2016 under the Act came into effect from 14th
April, 2016. Relief for
new offences and existing offences has been enhanced. For the first
time, offences of rape and gang-rape have been included. The relief
amount has been increased to Rs. 8.25 lakhs in case of gang-rape and Rs.
5 lakhs in case of rape from the earlier amount of Rs. 1.20 lakh. Number of Exclusive
Special Courts set up are 194. In 32 States/UTs, District Session Courts
have been designated as Special Courts. Special Police Stations for
registration of complaints of offenses against SCs and STs have been set
up in five states i.e. Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala and Madhya
Referring to Skill Development
and Entrepreneurship of SCs, Shri Gehlot said that the scheme of Venture
Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes was
launched in 2014-15
with unique feature of higher level of loans from Rs.50 lakhs to Rs.15
crores for SC entrepreneurs. Till date Loans amounting to Rs.236.66
crores to 65 Scheduled Caste entrepreneurs has been sanctioned in
different areas including Solar Energy, Water treatment plants, Food
processing and Beverages, Hotel etc. In 9 projects, beneficiaries have
started repayment and the Scheme is also having multiplying effect on
other SC entrepreneurs.
So far as the Skill
Development is concerned,
Training is undertaken by all State
Governments under the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan and by National Scheduled
Caste Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC), National Safai
Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC) and National
Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC)
given to 1.5 lakh beneficiaries from 2014-15 to 2016-17. 48.42% got
Shri Gehlot said that
over 17 lakh people have benefitted from subsidy given for loan taken
for economic activities
in the last three years under Scheduled Caste Sub Plan. Over 8.12 lakh
beneficiaries have been given loans by the Corporations for
entrepreneurships in the last three years.
He informed that
new scheme “Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana” has been launched
recently for distribution of Aids
and Assisted Living Devices to Senior Citizens,
help them to overcome their age related physical impairment and to lead
a dignified and productive life with minimal dependence on care givers
or other members of the family. The ambitious
Scheme, first of its kind in the country is expected to benefit 5,20,000
Senior Citizens over a period of the 3 years.
The Minister said that
under the Special Central Assistance to Scheduled Caste Sub Plan
Scheme, 100 % Grant to states is given for the
uplift of Scheduled Caste below the poverty line. The assistance is
utilized for providing subsidy of maximum Rs 10,000 per person on
loan taken for economic activities. About 17 lakh people have benefitted
from the subsidy component
over last three years.
Infrastructure in SC villages with 50 % population or more (solar
lights, drinking water, roads etc. Under the scheme, funds are released
for skill development of the Scheduled Castes.
He said that in memory of Dr.
Ambedkar, his Ministry launched following
three schemes in 2014-15: (1) Dr. Ambedkar Pre And Scholarship Scheme
for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic Tribes (DNTs) for facilitating
the nomadic community students to pursue education; (2) Dr. Ambedkar
Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for Economically Backward Classes (EBCs)
for providing assistance in form of scholarship to Economically Backward
Classes students pursuing higher education; and (3) Dr. Ambedkar
Interest Subsidy Scheme for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and
Economically Backward Classes (EBCs) to study abroad. The scheme aims to
help the needy OBCs and EBCs students to pursue higher studies abroad.
Shri Gehlot further
said that under the Dr. Ambedkar Medical Aid Scheme, medical aid is
provided to the patients suffering from
serious ailments requiring surgery of kidney, heart, liver, cancer and
brain or any other life threatening diseases including organ transplant
and spinal surgery to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe persons
whose annual family income is less than Rs 2,50,000/- p.a. During the
last three years, 168 patients have been granted aid under the programme.
Referring to Dr.
Ambedkar scheme for Social integration through Inter Caste Marriages,
the Minister said that the objective of the scheme
is to appreciate the socially bold step, of an inter-caste marriage,
taken by the newly married couple and to extend financial incentive to
the couple to enable them to settle down in the initial phase of the
married life. An amount of Rs 5 lakhs is given to each couple, released
in two installments. During the last three years, 121 couples have been
provided aid under the programme.
He also informed that
under Dr. Ambedkar Scheme for celebration of Birth/ Death Anniversaries
of Great saints, grant-in-aid is provided to
the recognized Colleges/Universities/Institutions and registered NGOs,
which are in existence for at least two years, for celebrating birth
anniversary of Great Saints who tirelessly worked for promoting social
justice, removal of inequality &
discrimination and for amelioration of the conditions of weaker sections
of the society. During the last two years, grants have been released to
He said that
the following places relating to Dr. Ambedkar such as Janam Bhoomi, Mhow,
Shiksha Bhoomi 10, King Henry Road, London,
Deeksha Bhoomi, Nagpur, Parinirvan Bhoomi, 26, Alipur Road, New Delhi
and Chaitya Bhoomi, Dadar, Mumbai were declared ‘Panchtirth’ by
the Government of India.
The Minister said that
Dr. Ambedkar Foundation finalized a
plan for developing prominent places associated with Dr. Ambedkar. An
amount of Rs.1,36,000,00/- has been approved for development of Memorial
at Mahad. Mahad Satyagraha was led by Dr. B.R.Ambedkar on 20th March,
1927 to allow downtrodden to use water from a
public tank. An amount of Rs.4,36,90,685/- has been released to DM,
Nagpur for Museum Building at Chincholi, Maharashtra.
He informed that the
Scheduled Caste Sub Plan/Tribal Sub Plan has been implemented in its
true spirit by the States/UTs and the Central
Government. The allocation for the welfare of Scheduled Castes has been
stepped up from Rs.38,833 crores in BE 2016-17 to Rs.52,393 crores in
2017-18, representing an increase of about 35%. Now, the monitoring and
implementation of Scheduled Castes Sub Plan has been entrusted to the
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
Shri Gehlot said that
his Ministry provides one time assistance of Rs.40,000/- to manual
scavengers to get them liberated from this inhuman practice and also
provides them skill training & loans at lower
rates for engaging them in alternative employment under Scheme of
Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers. 11,598 people have been provided
one time assistance of Rs.40,000/- and 13,827 people have initiated
skill development training in the last three years.
He said that each
branch of public sector banks has been assigned responsibility by the
Finance Ministry to handhold at least one SC/ST youth, as an
entrepreneur, to generate more employment among them.